A Report on Noise Pollution that I presented to the Council in Halifax , Nova Scotia .
Report on Noise Pollution Behind
the Bedford Place Mall
Bedford ,Nova Scotia
Table of Contents Introduction
Health Effects of Noise Pollution
This report presents the findings of research that was done on Noise Pollution by a resident and taxpayer of Bedford , Nova Scotia .
The report's main emphasis is on the problems associated with commercial noise pollution along with recommendations as to what can be done to alleviate any negative impact on residents who live near such noise . These recommendations certainly can be applied to other areas with similar problems .
The report provides current medical research to support the need for progressive legislation in the area of Noise Control.
The current noise bylaws for the Bedford area are looked at and discussed along with recommendations given.
Health Effects of Noise Pollution
Our annoyance to noise is often turned inward and passed on to the body where it shows up as tension . According to former United States Surgeon General William Stewart , noise is a major contributor to diseases ,which in 1980 alone ,took the lives of more than one million Americans .
Who knows what it is doing to Canadians ? A growing body of evidence suggests that noise can cause or aggravate headaches ,digestive problems,
ulcers and asthma.
Asleep or awake , the ear listens to everything within hearing distance . During waking hours ,sounds 70 to 75 decibels trigger automatic reactions . During sleep ,noises no louder than 55 decibels can set off an alarm . The nervous system responds by tensing muscles , constricting small blood vessels ,accelerating heart and breathing rates and increasing secretion of fluids in the stomach and intestines . Confronted with too much sound ,human physiology gears up for danger too often and for too long at a time. The space-age term for our perpetual state of readiness is tension . Chromic tension contributes to many of the problems and illnesses that plague human life .
High blood pressure and a high level of cholesterol -a clotting substance in the bloodstream , are believed to increase the risk of heart disease . In studies carried out by acoustic researchers , both of these conditions have been linked to noise . High blood pressure is a sign that the heart is working too hard to pump blood through the veins and arteries . Noise studies have turned up alarming connections between blood pressure and noisy environments.
German researcher Dr. Gerd Jansen learned that exposure to 75-90 decibels caused blood pressure to rise in the humans who participated in his laboratory experiments . (trucks-90 decibels, regular traffic - 70 decibels)
In 1981 the Environmental Protection Agency cautioned that continuous exposure to noise 70 decibels and up can be hazardous . Dr. Gerd Jansen in the course of his blood pressure studies learned that sounds in the range or 75-90 decibels cause tiny blood vessels in the toes ,fingers ,skin and abdominal organs to contract . This narrowing of small blood vessels or capillaries can reduce blood flow to affected body parts by as much as one half. Occurring too often it can interfere with the body's normal workings and make us susceptible to illness .
When noise keeps you awake night after night , you begin to feel tired and run down . The noise that doesn't wake you also takes a toll on health . According to Swiss sleep researcher H.R. Richter ,most of us are disturbed by night sounds that we don't notice or remember on awakening . Electronic equipment used to monitor brain waves showed that sounds don't have to be loud ti interfere with rest .
Russian researchers found barely audible 35 decibels can leave you feeling tired in the morning .
According to Dr.Nathaniel Kleitman of the University of Chicago ,too many restless nights will leave you with tired weak muscles .
The current legislation in Bedford and Halifax is inadequate and has to be changed . What is now in place only accommodates the business sector.
(i.e.Zellers,SuperStore & the Bedford Place Mall )and not the residents .
The noise bylaw in Bedford allows trucks with refrigeration units to operate from 7:00am to 9:30pm throughout the week . At times there have been up to "five" large refrigeration transport trucks behind Bedford Place Mall (i.e Farmers Dairy) with their engines and refrigeration units running and parked near residential homes . At times there isn't even a truck driver in the truck . IGA may have unloaded and the refrigeration unit will still run because of no driver .IGA has since gone and now another store is there in its place ready to open soon . Let us hope that history does not repeat itself .
What is interesting to note here is that in Bedford's Noise Bylaw certain exceptions were placed into the Noise Bylaw that shouldn't have been . One exception os the one dealing with garburator and refuse compacting equipment . The noise given off from these is a steady hum and if you live in a residential neighborhood it can be very annoying .
Bedford's IGA operated its compactor from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. when it was located at in Bedord . It was especially annoying after experiencing this for years . The IGA abutted residential homes . They should only be allowed to operate the compactors at certain times of the day and these compactors should not be located near residential homes where people's enjoyment of their property will be disturbed .
Under the current legislation unloading can occur from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. behind the Bedford Place Mall and Zellers takes full advantage of this . During the day the sound coming from the unloading area of Zellers sounds like a bowling alley and that is when you are in your home . Don't residents have a right to an enjoyment of their property ? Just why was an unloading area placed 40 feet behind a residential home when residents disapproved of it going there in the first place ? Why weren't residents listened to ?
The noise generated by the air-conditioning units is another annoyance which should be easily solved by relocation of these units away from the residential homes . At times the noise is continuous and is always background noise making if difficult to enjoy ones own backyard .
Another surprise with our Noise Bylaw is where noises from concrete -finishing machinery is exempt . If you live near a business where this may occur you are out of luck . They can go 24 hours with absolutely no regard for the health of the surrounding residents in the area . During Zellers's expansion in Bedford , this was the case . Businesses such as IGA ,Zellers & the Bedford Place mall have to show more social responsibility toward those who support them financially ,especially to those who are their next door neighbors .
It is important that we worked towards a community where business and residents can live together in harmony . I believe this can be only done through cooperation and courtesy .
(1.) Trucks arriving at the back of the Bedford Place Mall are leaving their engines and refrigeration units running.
(2.) The unloading area for Zellers is too close to residential homes . At times while they are unloading , the sound resembles a bowling alley in some of the homes .
(3.) Trucks are going to the new site for the SuperStore Development at 1 truck every 3 minutes from 7:00 a.m to 9:30 p.m. from Monday to Saturday hauling gravel and rocks .They are using the back of the Mall that abuts residential homes to do this .Not only do we have the regular Noise pollution from the transport tucks visiting Zellers and IGA but now we have additional truck traffic . At times there have been at least "8" transport trucks at the back of the mall .
(4.) Other trucks who do not do business with the mall use the back of the mall to avoid the Bedford Highway. The trucks going over the speed bumps at the back of the Bedford Place mall can even cause dishes to rattle and children to lose their sleep.
(5.) Trucks will unhitch their trailers with refrigeration units at the IGA unloading area and leave them running , especially on Sunday .
(6.) The noise barrier is inadequate . At present , what is considered by Bedford's former Town Planner (Donna Davis Lohnes ) as a noise barrier , is completely inadequate . I suggested at the time other alternatives that were being used elsewhere in Canada but these suggestions were not even considered . The location of Zeller's receiving doors in Bedford were never agreed upon by my family . The decision was made at a time when Bedford was shutting down as a town . The decision to put a receiving area for Zellers right behind a residential home is a good example of poor planning. Our protest to this decision was ignored . We have been told that this decision has devalued our home by at least $10,000 .
(7.) Trucks are stopping to close their trailer doors with their engines running ,near the fence that abuts the residential homes .
(8.) With the possibility of the Bedford Place Mall being allowed to open longer there will be an increase in the above problems . I am concerned that there may be a new law introduced with regards to Sunday shopping .
(9.) One truck may be running 15 mins. But right after that one another comes and then another . To worsen this condition is the limited space in which the trucks making deliveries have to work with . At times there are as many as 8 transport trucks with their engines running . This continues day after day and can only take its toll on the health of the individuals who are subjected to it . The cumulative affect is one the department of Health and the Department of the Environment should be concerned with . Immediate action needs to be taken by both departments.
(1.) Changes need to be made to the noise bylaw that would ensure residents' health are note effected and that they will be able to have the right to appreciate their property .
(2.) Trucks entering the back of the Bedford place Mall need to turn off their engines along with their refrigeration units .
Only one truck should be allowed to enter the back of the Bedford Place Mall at any one time to unload their products . The trucks waiting to unload should wait at the front of the Bedford Place Mall until it is their turn to unload . Instead , what is occurring is that up to three to five trucks with their engines and refrigeration units running , are waiting for their turn to unload at the back of the Mall where there are residential homes .
We have been informed by Noise Watch the trucks do not need to be idling in order to use the refrigeration units . They just need to plug into a power source . If the power source generator can be housed indoors , then the noise would be cut down drastically . The generator should of course be muffled ,however the ideal would be for them to just turn off for the short time they are there . (15 mins. To 30 mins) This goes on for the whole day !
(3.) If the above is impossible then relocation of the loading doors away from residential homes is a must .Especially ,Zellers unloading area . The system they use for unloading goods is far to noisy .
The noise from thins area at times resembles a bowling alley . Zellers has to find a quieter way to unload other than with a forklift . Also , occasionally smaller trucks who are making deliveries to Zellers leave their engines running . This is not healthy for the environment nor is it healthy for the children in the area .
If the above is not possible then the unloading area at Zellers should be relocated .
(4.) Build a proper noise barrier . The wooden fence that was built behind the Bedford Place Mall is only esthetically pleasing and does not block out the noise from the Bedford Place Mall.
(5.) I have also requested the Halifax Regional Municipality to request a review of scientific literature regarding stress-related health effects of noise to be done by the Central Regional health Board . Nothing has been done to date on my request .
(6.) I have also requested Mr. Angus Shaffenburg of the HRM development Department to respond to this report and to give reasons as to why residents are being subjected to such Noise Pollution . No response to date .
I have also sent a copy of the report to MLA Peter Christie along with Councillor Peter Kelly who is now the mayor of Halifax , Nova Scotia .
Update : IGA has moved and so has the the trucks with refrigeration but the trucks "continue" to use the back of the Bedford Place Mall as a route to avoid the traffic lights on the main highway .
They also use it as a route to get to the new SuperStore . The speed bumps they have at the back of the Mall do nothing to prevent the noise generated by these trucks as they pass over them . At times the houses shake when the trucks speed over them .
The store Winners is now in the location where IGA use to be . Their waste system is noisy and is not a desirable one in my opinion . Canadian Waste although it boasts of being environmentally friendly is noisy when it picks up its garbage . At times the noise is so bad the houses shake . Winners could go to a more environmentally quiet collection system but at this time is choosing not to . We hope that they do.
Zellers still continues to unload its trucks in an unfriendly manner creating noise in the surrounding area .It refuses to look at environmentally friendly ways to unload their products that would lessen the noise for residents that abut this establishment . I hope that these companies begin to realize their corporate responsibility to the residents who abut them and begin to do something about the noise they are generating . We do have a right to be able to appreciate our properties.